Browsing Category Bits & Pieces

Tomorrow The Rain Will Fall Upwards – “…And I Tried So Hard”

The purposely elusive Tomorrow The Rain Will Fall Upwards returns to Blackest Ever Black for a new long player that from all indications will be a really interesting listen. The first track proper is a slinking bit of calm tranquility that builds on angelic synths and swirling bliss. The cut emerges from the gauzy vortex for some piano fragility that builds the runnout to euphoric heights. Its a gorgeous track that can’t help but lift your spirits, even just a little bit. As I said, from the sampler that BEB just put out for the rest of the album, it sounds like the rest will weave all over the place into a mash of delight and cacophony, which sounds just perfect. Excited for this full length to unfold over the next month.




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Wymond Miles on Jacobites – Robspierre’s Velvet Basement

Hidden Gems is based on the idea of those records that are found along the way in life that you can’t believe you never heard about, the ones that just blow you away on first listen and seem like such a find. The kind of records that get left out of all the essential decade lists and 1001 records you need to hear before you die type of listicle. The ones that got away. For the second installment in the series, I asked Wymond Miles, member of Fresh & Onlys and solo artist in his own right to take his pick at an essential piece of the past. He picked Nikki Sudden & Dave Kusworth’s 1985 sophomore LP as the Jacobites, Robspierre’s Velvet Basement. I asked Wymond how this lovely piece of the post-punk landscape came into his life and what the record means to him.

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EZTV – “High Flying Faith”

I came sorely late to EZTV’s first album, but the band’s timeless touch on the power pop paradigm seemed far too welcomed to pass up. Now the band stands on the verge of a follow-up and it sounds even more polished, working through the Byrdsian touches that found their way down to the likes of Shake Some Action-era Flaming Groovies and the bigger vistas of The Raspberries or later period Big Star. They’re fully gripping that hold on pop shimmer and this time they’re bringing Jenny Lewis along for the ride with some subtle backup vocals. Frankly, there couldn’t be a sweeter touch to add to any crystalline pop song than Lewis’ bourbon and honey drawl. The song fairly melts out of the speakers like sugar dissolving in water. Every note feels perfect, but not in a cloying way. EZTV have a timelessness that hits like the sweet pang of nostalgia rather than the hot slap of kitcsh. If this is how they’re rolling out of the gates for High In Place, then I’m pretty damn eager to hear how the rest plays out.



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Rhyton – “End of Ambivalence”

Rhyton rides again and its sounding as sunburned and tangled as ever. The Brooklyn trio includes RSTB fave Dave Shuford (D. Charles Speer, No-Neck Blues Band, Coach Fingers) along with Jimy SeiTang (Psychic Ills, Black Dirt Oak) and Rob Smith (Pigeons) all laying down a gnarled path of guitar that saunters down some of the same lanes that Sir Richard Bishop, Rangda and D. Charles himself have found themselves lost on these past couple of years. There’s a nervy and dangerous quality that lurks just beneath the surface and Rhyton deploy mystique and atmosphere with the same deft quality as they dish out technical prowess. Though the mind is rarely thinking about the complexities of the track when its got as much movement and finesse as “End of Ambivalence.” Just a taste of an album on the way towards the end of the month and from the sounds of it its going to be worth the wait.




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The Chills – Kaleidoscope World Reissue

The Chills are just now really getting their due. Its been a longtime coming but with a new album on Fire and some respect for backcatalog in motion (someone reissue Submarine Bells already) they seem poised to finally capture the West the way they should have all those years ago. Flying Nun is putting one of the band’s long sought after puzzle pieces back in print. By all accounts Kaleidoscope World contains the band’s most familiar track. “Pink Frost” is a post-punk mixtape staple and probably one of the entry points or one-stops for the average person’s familiarity with the band. Though not a first record proper (technically its a compilation of EPs and singles) Kaleidoscope World functions well as a document of the band’s rise and refinement into the jangle-pop heroes they’d come to be to those sifting through the right bins in the ’90s. Its great to see this one popping back up on the horizon. There are plenty of undeserving contenders plugging up the vinyl glut’s reissue pipe, so its good to see a real winner get its day in the sun again.

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Grumbling Fur – “Acid Ali Khan”

New music from the likes of Alexander Tucker and Daniel O’Sullivan would lead the drag of the needle to pick up something in the doom-folk territory, or perhaps burnt cater metal; but both halves of this duo push even further away from their legacieson their new record for Thrill Jockey. Under the name Grumbling Fur the pair are injecting a bit of their dour countenances into synth pop that’s heavy on the grey-skied vibes than most but still feeling like it has a pulse. They’ve collaborated under the name on a few releases but this is the most surefooted its ever sounded. They’ve certainly been pouring over their Cure catalog and elsewhere the lean into solo Eno is certainly apt and more than welcome. Tucker’s voice gives off a bit of his own brand of heartache though and it pairs nicely with the new change in direction. The track, the first taste of their new album Furfour is a slow grower that unfolds over time. The album is primed for September and features contributions Charles Bullen (This Heat) and Isobel Sollenberger (Bardo Pond).



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RSTB Best of 2016 (so far)

Ok, so deep down I know that the half-year best-of rundown is becoming an expected bit of mid-year clickbait listicle self-love. It’s a totem that’s somewhat unnecessary, seeing how at the end of the year votes get tallied and the same releases get pondered. But since I also have the nagging gnaw that a culture of collective consciousness music press will result in plenty of homogeneous diatribes about what’s been considered the cream of ’16, I figure that it’s worth it to shine some light on a few deserving entities that are gonna to be left out of the party.

Some outlets have gone so far as to tell the world that 2016 has been super stressful for them, what with all the surprise albums needing their immediate attention. Sleepless nights in the review mines, I’m sure. Caffeinated burns through the wee hours that are called upon because absorption of albums over time is heresy these days. No time to listen deep because those other sites are stealin’ your views, siphoning clicks, and by next week those cuts will be far too stale to talk about anyhow. RSTB’s always there to let you know that sometimes its OK to let an album fester under your skin a while. Review it late, review it early, but maybe listen long enough to learn how it impacts you—or at least how it sounds in the car vs. the speakers vs. the headphones.

I’m starting to think that sometimes best should be more relative and less quantitative, and maybe it might be fun if there were a few more outlets with a true voice. But, so went the airwaves, so go the reviews, eh? Ah, maybe I’m just old fashioned. Anyhow, here are the picks. Remember RSTB is never content (n.), and never content (adj.).

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Les Halles – “Thresholds”

Not Not Fun has skewed more mutant disco in the last few years but its good to see there’s still some melted psych odysseys to be found among the band’s varied stable. French musician Baptiste Martin has been crafting psych landscapes for a few years in relative obscurity on labels like Constellation Tatsu and Noumenal Loom and now he’s bringing a double shot of languid washes to NNF. “Thresholds” melds drifting keys with Amerindian flute samples and views them through the undersea ripple of a Jacques Cousteau nature doc, bobbing and lolling in the waves and peering at the sun through the refracted surface above. For those looking to cool down summer days or just melt into the deep green of leaves against sky, this is probably a best bet for the next couple of months.



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Glenn Donaldson on The Television Personalities – The Painted Word

Hidden Gems is based on the idea of those records that are found along the way in life that you can’t believe you never heard about, the ones that just blow you away on first listen and seem like such a find. The kind of records that get left out of all the essential decade lists and 1001 records you need to hear before you die type of listicle. The ones that got away. In the first installment I tapped Glenn Donaldson (Skygreen Leopards, Art Museums, Jewelled Antler Collective) to have his pick at a record that fits the bill. Glenn’s Twitter feed alone is full of enough overlooked classics to fill this feature ten times over, so needless to say I was intrigued. He’s picked Television Personalities’ fourth album, the darkly shaded, The Painted Word. I asked him how the record came into his life and how its affected him and his music.

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Mozes & The Firstborn – “Great Pile of Nothing”

So it would seem that the EP that Mozes & The Firstborn released earlier in the year was a tease and taste of a new album on the way. The first eke out of that long player arrives with “Great Pile of Nothing,” as clean and sincere a slice of power pop that ever graced these shores. Somewhere out in the world a shudder just ran down Matthew Sweet’s spine because he knows there’s a challenger on the horizon. The track hearkens back to the best of the mid 90’s and early aughts indie pop w/ a budget and I for one, couldn’t be happier to return to the big, crisp sound of guitars blowing stacks over sugar sweet odes to love and loss and creeping inadequacy. Bring back well-funded slacker pop. Do it already! The album, also titled Great Pile of Nothing, hits in September so mark your calendars, and in the mean time this nugget should be duly dubbed to cassette and popped into the deck of your beat to gears Tercel to blast at stoplights all summer long.



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